Baseball Hall of Famer Lou Brock encourages others with diabetes “to manage it & live a good life”

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FRANKLIN (WITI) -- He was a player who could do it all on the baseball diamond. Hitting, running, fielding -- you name it, Lou Brock excelled at it. Now, the Hall of Famer is long past his playing days, but he's still looking for that big hit.

For 19 seasons, Lou Brock was able to do things on the baseball field very few had done before. He became only the 14th player in history to get 3,000 hits in his career.

He also stole a record 118 bases in 1974.

11 years later, he would be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

"The dream of every professional athlete is to leave his mark upon his chosen sport," Brock said.

Brock left his mark on the game -- ending up in Cooperstown with 3,023 career hits.

"I still look for the big hit," Brock said.

The hits Brock is looking for now happens away from the diamond.

"I got diagnosed about 11 years ago and since then I have been travelling, talking to people about managing diabetes. All I know is if you've got diabetes, your pancreas has stopped. 70 % of the cells don't work. Those of us who have been in sports, we know that even the little things can make a difference," Brock said.

Those little things include stops at places like The Rock Sports Complex in Franklin, where Brock recently explained his mission.

"You come back to diabetes, there aren't any big hit opportunities. So the big hit opportunity in diabetes is to manage it," Brock said.

Even though he wasn't diagnosed until well after his playing days, he was aware of diabetes back then because of another Hall of Famer who had the disease.

"I saw Ron Santo manage diabetes and I saw him make All-Star teams. I saw him almost win the MVP and all those things. And guess what, when he hit the field, just because he had diabetes, nobody gave into him.  They all went after him as though he was Ernie Banks," Brock said.

Santo's battle ended, but Brock says he still feels his influence.

"I just thought 'boy, if everybody took that attitude to diabetes, would it still be around or would we be able to whoop it? Would we be able to get the big hit?'" Brock said.

Getting the big hit requires the ability of people to get information on the disease from the right source.

"Listen to your doctors. We're not going to outsmart them. Even though we may get information about what our parents said about it or what your next door neighbor said about it, face the doctor. He's the man. He's the agent of healing," Brock said.

While it is a serious discussion, Brock delivers his message with his famous smile.

"I kid all the time. Say I walk past a piece of toast in the morning and my blood sugar spike goes up. I'm sure that people think that really happens," Brock said.

Brock says he's hoping he can get one more hit by getting people with diabetes to act.

"It's not going away, at least it has been proven it's not going away. So the next best thing for us to do is not let it dictate our lives but to manage it and go on and live a good life," Brock said.

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